For bureaucrats and administrative lawyers, the term Chevron does not mean a gas company. Rather, it is a Supreme Court case, Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council (1984), which gave the federal government — the agencies specifically — considerable power and control.
On Monday, the Supreme Court took up a case that is perhaps one of the most important cases in recent memory, because it could lead to the overturn of Chevron. This is extremely significant news for anyone wanting to reduce the size and power of federal agencies.
So, what is Chevron? The Clean Air Act of 1977 required that the states establish “new or modified major stationary sources” of air pollution. There became a dispute as to what a “stationary source” means. The law did not define the term. Congress’ legislative history also did not define the term. As a result, the Environmental Protection Agency, which enforces the Clean Air Act, took it upon itself to interpret the term. And later, after a change in administrations, the EPA changed that interpretation.